Alleged Hacker Faces 35 Years in Jail for Theft of Scholarly Articles

Of all the things to steal, scholarly articles may not top many hackers’ wish lists. However, a former fellow at Harvard's Center for Ethics is accused of doing just that: stealing millions of academic texts with the intent of sharing them online.

According to the Boston Herald, prosecutors allege Aaron Swartz, 24, used the name Gary Host or “ghost“ to hack into the MIT computer network and download more than 4.8 million articles from the scholarly archive JSTOR.

Swartz had already been banned from the site for previous activities and “more than one hundred times the number of downloads during the same period by all the legitimate MIT JSTOR users combined,“ the indictment said.

Prosecutors say Swartz's activities crashed the JSTOR servers, which made the organization ban all MIT users temporarily from the site.

If convicted, Swartz could receive up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

 

 

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